July 17, 2019
VARIOUS industry groups and business chambers urged the government on Tuesday to veto Senate Bill 1826, or the Security of Tenure (SoT) measure, arguing that there are existing laws already safeguarding workers.
In a joint statement, the business groups called the bill “redundant, as there are previously approved laws that already protect workers from endo (end of contract).”
The statement was signed by the Makati Business Club, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Foundation for Economic Freedom, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of, Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc., and Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.
The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc. and Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines also signed the statement.
According to them, Department Order 174 and Executive Order 51 — which both prohibits the practice of illegal contracting and subcontracting — have been helping employees attain regular status.
Citing the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the groups said 500,000 workers from the private sector were regularized in May.
Further regularization is possible with the “continuous implementation” of the said policies, they added.
Instead of introducing new policies, better enforcement of current labor laws is needed, according to the organizations.
They also argued that companies’ management prerogative to practice job contracting would be adversely affected by the measure’s implementation.
“The Supreme Court has recognized the proprietary right of companies to exercise an inherent prerogative and its best business judgment to determine whether it should contract out performance of some of its work to independent contractors,” they said.
The groups also pointed out also that the bill is seen to boost the expenses of companies, making them less competitive.
The increased expenses, they said, could also “hinder their (companies’) operations and slow down growth.”
Job opportunities for low-skilled workers could be at risk, as well, because firms might choose to use automation and artificial intelligence, redesign work processes and transfer work to “more investor-friendly foreign destinations,” they warned.
The statement comes after the Senate approved the measure, 15-0-0, on third and final reading in May.
If enacted, SB 1826 would require employers to directly hire employees, instead of getting them through contracting agencies.
Employees will be given the opportunity to be absorbed and regularized, and not to be let go after five months of employment — a practice resorted to by firms to avoid granting tenure and additional benefits.
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